Do you know how excited we are? We’re really, really excited!
That’s because a movie adaptation of Jordan Belfort’s best-selling memoir “The Wolf of Wall Street” is slated to start filming in New York this August.
It’s the story of a penny stockbroker who ran a pump and dump firm called Stratton-Oakmont on Long Island. Think drugs, parties, and globe trotting during the good times. (They even did legitimate deals, like take Steve Madden public.)
But then there were the bad times. Stratton-Oakmont had a number of completely illegal dealings involving corruption at high levels of the corporate banking world, and even the mob. The bad times, as you can see, were really bad.
When all was said and done, Belfort had to spend 20 months in jail and his family and fortune were lost.
Long Island-based brokerage house Stratton-Oakmont had a short run. By 1998, founder Jordan Belfort was indicted for securities fraud and money laundering.
During the run, though, Belfort (a kid who used to hustle ice on Long Island beaches) hired young, hungry, hardworking employees, some of whom hadn't even graduated from high school. They were known as 'Strattonites.'
The 'Strattonites' stuck to Belfort's cold call scripts, drove up the prices of stocks, and partied. Hard.
In his autobiography, Belfort details doing a lot of hardcore drugs when he was at the top of his Wall Street game in the 90s.
Here's what he told CNBC's Jane Wells:
Belfort says at the height of his drug problem, he was taking 22 different medications: 20 quaaludes a day, balanced out by cocaine, the morphine, xanax, valium, etc. You name it, he abused it. I said to him, 'Even if half of this is true (sceptical as always) how are you alive?' He says he was just really good about balancing it all out.
The 'Wolf' crashed his crashed his gulfstream jet during one of his high points.
He also owned a 256-foot super-yacht (named Nadine and originally built for Coco Chanel) that he would eventually sink off the coast of Italy. Other toys include a Ferrari Testaross and a Hamptons house, just to name a few.
Ok. So not everything was a complete screw up. His firm took iconic fashion company Steve Madden public.
Belfort also looked out for his friends and helped them set up brokerages.
While on drugs, Belfort crashed car with his 3 year-old daughter, who was not wearing her seatbelt, through his garage door. He also kicked his gorgeous model wife down a flight of stairs in a drug induced state.
The family eventually moved to California after Belfort was arrested.
Here's how they got him: Belfort laundered money through several intermediaries in Switzerland. The Feds nabbed one and unravelled the whole scheme. Once Belfort knew it was all over for him, he started ratting out his friends, over 100 of them.
The ratting went on for a few years, but eventually Belfort had to go to jail. He was sentenced to 4 years but only did 20 months in jail plus drug counseling and time in halfway house.
Here's a scene we're really looking forward to -- Belfort's cellmate was Tommy Chong who was serving time for selling bongs on the internet. They were in a white collar prison (think: tennis courts) together and it was Chong who suggested Belfort write a book.
And we can't wait to meet Agent Coleman of the FBI and Assistant US Attorney Joel Cohen. They REALLY hated Belfort.
Scorsese and DiCaprio have worked together on a bunch of movies including The Departed, Gangs of New York, The Aviator, and more.
We're excited to see DiCaprio play the hard-partying, drug-abusing stockbroker.
'What separates Jordan's story from others like it is the brutal honesty in which he talks about the mistakes he's made in his life,' DiCaprio said in a video on Belfort's website.